Sep 26

There’s more to Old Bleach than…

There's more to Old Bleach than cycling...As you’ll have noticed (it may well be what brought you here) we’ve been posting a series of There’s more to Old Bleach than… images and associated blethers on our various social media pages.

There’s nothing dual-layered or pretentious about this; it’s 100% true – there is more to Old Bleach than all the facets we’ve listed. Old Bleach encompasses all these aspects and a considerable amount more.

We’re not alone in this. The vast majority of cycle clubs offer people all those fun aspects and a lot more. All we’re trying to do is point out the enjoyable parts of being in a cycle club and how even those don’t total up to the sum of what a club has to offer.

Here is an tedious informative breakdown of each There’s more to Old Bleach than… blether for your reading pleasure.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling…

Sure, cycling is at the core of each and every cycle club. The clue’s there in the first word. However it’s not the be all and end all. We’re not automatons, glued to our bicycles and unable to do or talk about anything else.

Yes, of course there is a strong focus on cycling but being in a cycle club is about more than that. In fact, here’s one of those ‘things’ now…

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling and coffee…

Coffee and cycling seem to be a match made in heaven – like cobblers and key cutters.

People who love cycling also seem to love drinking coffee. There’s that whole claim of ‘caffeine keeps the heart rate down’ but that’s nothing but hot air. Truth be told we all like sitting nattering over a hot drink. It’s sociable and we’re greedy sorts. Otherwise why burn all those calories in the first place?

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee and competition…

Some people want to cycle purely for the social element; getting out with others in the open air and having fun doing so.

For others it’s a different kettle of fish. Their thrills come from competing (at various levels) against others. It can be in the local 10 mile Time Trial or in the National Road Race. Whatever it is, Old Bleach supports all its riders in the style of cycling which makes them happiest.

We’re all equal in Old Bleach and none is more equal than another despite what George Orwell may have had to say on the subject.

NB: We don’t think George Orwell was really writing about Old Bleach. That would be an incredible case of self-important delusion on our part.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee, competition and cake…

Some may regard this as our most contentious claim. After all who doesn’t love cake? Lots of Old Bleach members certainly do.

We help support the local economy by feeding our addiction to cake and traybakes. The more conscientious of us even scout ahead to tea rooms and coffee shops to try out cakes prior to club runs. We’re extremely dedicated to this cause and feel very passionately about it.

Cafe owners must rub their hands with glee when they see us pull up at their establishments.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee, competition, cake and clubmates…

This claim is probably the closest we come to stretching the truth. After all, it’s the members which make the club and, at the risk of sounding pompous, we’re pretty good on that front.

So far we’ve no fisticuffs to report and everybody looks out for one another. We really are a club rather than some individuals who happen to be out on their bikes at the same time.

That’s not to say we’re like some sort of brainwashing cult. Sheesh no! Well, there was that one guy but we don’t talk about him and they never did find all the electrodes…

Cycling is sometimes referred to as an activity for ‘sociable loners’. To us that seems pretty spot on.

Sometimes one feels like chatting away constantly and other times, for whatever reason, it’s simply not the case. That’s fine. Come out either way. Nobody expects you to be the life and soul of the party every time you’re out. Even if you’re only there because you want to wheelsuck and not have to sit in the wind all day by yourself, we’ll still be pleased to see you.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee, competition, cake, clubmates and camaraderie…

From being in a club with some of our clubmates (see previous paragraphs for details) it turns out a few of them find one another mildly tolerable. In fact we’d go as far as to say they proactively get along and have made friends.

Clubs are a great way to get chatting to people with similar interests. Funny thing is it turns out such friendships extend to more than a mere enjoyment of cycling. While that may have been the basis for initial conversation most of us are well enough rounded to have other interests, thoughts and feelings about life, the world etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes we even have reasonably mature adult conversations but we try to keep these to a minimum and stick to the lowest common denominator.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee, competition, cake, clubmates, camaraderie and camp…

We like cycling. We also like it being warmer than County Antrim generally offers. Thankfully we can put cycling and heat together by going away to cycle camps abroad.

As mentioned earlier, some of us don’t hate the sight of one another so plan attending the same cycle camp at the same time. For some it’s ‘training’ and for others it’s ‘eating cake in a warm country’. Whatever the individual’s desire, it’s all good with us and will make for an enjoyable experience.


With all of that in mind, why not give cycling with a club a go? It’s good for the body. It’s good for the mind.

Obviously we have a bias and would like people to come out with Old Bleach but we’re realistic and not everyone lives within an area which makes that practical. Don’t let that put you off. Have a search online to see which is your local club and give them a try. What do you have to lose?

There’s always the possibility you won’t have fun but maybe it’ll be the start of years of enjoyment. If ‘club one’ doesn’t work out maybe ‘club two’ will etc. etc. Don’t let one bad experience deter you from the potential of years of enhanced cycling pleasure.

You can see a map of Irish clubs here if you’re interested.

Don’t be backward in coming forward. Have you got some questions/concerns you’d like to voice before going out with a club? No worries. Get in touch and let your voice be heard. Plenty of us went out on our first club runs with some trepidation; it’s only natural.

Any club worth its salt will be delighted to hear from you and only too happy to do what they can to help out.

Clubs exist to facilitate their members – to make their cycling more pleasant. Why not avail of this service?